THERE were dramatic scenes on East Tamworth streets yesterday when dozens of police chased down an escaped prisoner who fled on foot just after fronting court.
Onlookers and motorists were amazed and spellbound as police on foot swarmed the streets around Brisbane St near the main railway line in a desperate pursuit to recapture the 19-year-old.
The teenager was dressed in prison greens and there were initial suggestions he had fled in handcuffs, however this could not be confirmed last night.
Police recaptured the accused violent offender hiding in a shed near an old scout hall off Griffin Ave, just north of the rail line.
Dozens of police – detectives, highway patrol officers and general-duties officers – surrounded houses and honed in on the area about 3.20pm, after the man wearing prison greens was seen jumping the train tracks.
Oxley Commander Acting Superintendent Jeff Budd said every resource was deployed in the hunt.
“Corrective Services have lost control of a prisoner who escaped from the policing centre in Tamworth,” he said at the scene of the arrest.
“All Tamworth police that were available responded quickly and after about a 15-minute search he was located north of the railway line in Tamworth hiding in a shed.
“He has since been arrested and placed back into custody.”
After being put in the back of a paddy wagon the offender began banging on the inside as he was taken back to the police station.
“Well this offender is a particularly nasty offender, so we’re lucky to have him back in custody,” Acting Superintendent Budd said.
“We were very lucky our police were able to put perimeters in quickly and that helped us with the search and he was recovered in a good period of time.”
The 19-year-old is in custody on intimidation charges and awaiting trial on attempted sexual assault, indecent assault and aggravated break-in offences.
Last night police charged the teenager with one count of escaping lawful custody – a charge police said would see the offender transferred to a maximum-security jail.
He was refused police bail and will front an out-of-sessions hearing in Tamworth Bail Court tomorrow.
In a statement last night, a spokesperson for Corrective Services NSW said the prisoner fled the Tamworth Court Cell complex yesterday afternoon.
“The 19-year-old man had faced Tamworth Local Court and was awaiting transfer back to Tamworth Correctional Centre when he fled about 3.15pm,” it read.
“CSNSW is investigating the incident, as it does with any escape from custody.”